Pakistan is in the midst of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) action on its blacklisting. And despite its best attempt spinning the whole situation, better than the legendary Abdul Qadir could do with the ball, things are looking ugly.
And, to think of it, in the last five years, five law enforcement agencies investigated 2,420 cases related to money laundering. Guess how many were indicted? Only one accused under investigation of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was convicted. That was Nawaz Sharif.
That’s not fighting against terror. That is the fight against your political opponent! Imran Khan and the Pakistani establishment think that they can put anyone behind the bars and call it a victory on terror and money laundering, even when it was their own political opponent!
This is the level of seriousness when Pakistan is on the brink of complete economic disaster – Terror-Hub Pakistan’s Economic Doom
So, Asia Pacific Group, affiliated with FATF said in its report.
“Despite relatively high numbers of ML investigations for some type of offences – particularly drug trafficking and tax cases – the low percentage of prosecution for some types of major predicate crimes and overall just one conviction for ML, suggests that the collection of evidence at the investigation stage is not sufficient enough to achieve a reasonable prosecution and conviction rate.”(source)
As most of the stuff in Pakistan, the whole situation of the financial sector is just a mere spin-based narrative. Legally and on paper, a lot of things exist. But in reality, nothing ever happens. For example, there is apparently a Financial Monitoring Unit of the State Bank of Pakistan which is legally required to maintain statistics of ‘suspicious transactions’. But it just doesn’t have complete or accurate data. Which is a nice way of saying that its data and information are heavily fudged!
The situation in terror financing (TF) is worse than money laundering!
“For TF, competent authorities have a mixed understanding of risk. The national TF investigation agency (Federal Investigation Agency – FIA) has a low level of TF risk understanding, while provincial police TF investigation departments (counterterrorism departments – CTDs) have a better understanding of those risks within their provinces. Punjab CTD, in particular, has a reasonable understanding of TF risks within Punjab province,”
Intriguingly, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has registered only 3 TF cases, 49 convictions happened in Punjab and 9 in all other provinces!
Who they are and other details are sketchy. The claims are there about proscribing individuals and entities but the lists on the website are limited. Point being, there is a big gap between what is claimed and what is actually done. There is little back-up information for the former.
So the APG is dissatisfied with Pakistan’s efforts in completing the FATF requirements. But what do the government officials think? They blame India. How convenient is that?
They way it looks like right now, the FATF meeting between October 13 to 18 in Paris is all set to blacklist Pakistan. Unless of course, China, Malaysia and Turkey bail it out of that ignominy. But it will be just a technical maneuver. It will not be a long-term victory or saving.
Real way to save themselves for Pakistanis will be to actually realize the damning impact of terrorism and change course. Which is impossible. So FATF saga of Pakistan is bound to take it to darkness.